‘We are the Village’: Carmel MAMAs helps area women, kids build connections


Gina Tannehill didn’t “know a soul” in the area when she moved to Carmel from Tennessee in late 2019, and meeting new friends didn’t get any easier when the COVID-19 pandemic struck months later.

So, she was especially thankful to have discovered the Meet a Mom Association through Facebook, and she joined the East Carmel chapter. Even as much of the world shut down to prevent the pandemic from spreading, she was able to find and connect with other women in the area experiencing the timeless challenges of motherhood while battling the added stress of social isolation and loneliness caused by lockdowns and quarantines.

“Motherhood is hard enough on its own, but it takes a village (to raise a child),” said Tannehill, the group’s membership chair and incoming president. “With MAMAs, I feel like we are the village, so that really has created that community and really strong friendships.”

Carmel MAMAs launched in 2020 after members of Moms Club International chapters on the east and west sides of town voted to separate from the national organization. The Carmel groups instead decided to form new nonprofit organizations that would be run locally.

Amy Lanuti, whose sons are 6, 8 and 10 years old, is president of the west chapter, which includes areas in Carmel and Westfield between 96th Street, 176th Street, Meridian Street and Michigan Road. She said the group helped her build connections after she stopped working after 10 years as a preschool teacher.

“I felt kind of lost, like I needed community. I needed to find friends, and that’s what this group did for me,” Lanuti said.

The east and west clubs are independent of each other but sometimes partner on events. Both groups will participate in an open house set for 10 a.m. May 11 at Carey Grove Park, 14001 Carey Rd. in Carmel, where all local moms are invited to learn more about the organization. The event is free, but the annual fee to join either club is $30.

The Carmel MAMAs typically hold several events each week, with outings ranging from morning playdates to holiday parties to moms night out.

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Members of the East Carmel MAMAs and their children visit a fire station. (Photo courtesy of Gina Tannehill)

“We’re driven by what our moms are interested in,” said Tannehill, who has two preschool-age children. “We try to vary the days, the times and the interests so the majority of our members can participate in something.”

The east chapter covers Carmel east of Meridian Street, Noblesville and parts of Westfield. Members of both chapters range from stay-at-home moms to full-time working moms, and their children range from babies to teens.

Learn more about the west chapter at wcwmamas.org and learn about the east chapter at facebook.com/eastcarmelmamas.